Television

The Challenge: Total Madness Awards

OK, it's our last post about The Challenge until next season. That's right, it's time for the Takeys!

AwardOK y’all, we promise this will be the last piece on The Challenge until the next season eventually starts. That said, welcome to the season-ending awards post! We obviously love The Challenge here at The Take, and thus are honored to bring to y’all the Alabama Take Challenge Awards, or “Takeys” for short.

The very prestigious “Takeys” are selected by a top-notch, highly secretive council using an extremely complex and thorough process. Without further ado…

Best Call by the Production Team

And the winner is… The outstanding move to steer the soundtrack away from EDM, dubstep, etc.

Over the past couple of seasons, the soundtrack has shifted to include songs spanning multiple genres and multiple decades. EDM was shit hot back in the late 2000s/early 2010s, so it’s understandable it’d get a lot of use. But it started to affect the production of the show beyond music. Camera cuts were made to match the music’s frenetic, stop-and-go pace; and quite frankly it was a hard watch. The shift back to music that doesn’t sound like what will be pumped out of speakers in human enslavement camps once machines take over has improved the watchability of the show. Plus, lyrics can be powerful when the right song is picked to aid the right scene.

Worst Call by the Production Team

And the winner is… Housing the contestants in an underground bunker.

We covered this in our finals preview on Taking It Down, but c’mon guys, what the hell were you thinking? Half the fun of watching The Challenge is seeing the cast throw back and let loose at their ridiculously lavish accommodations. From their comments on the reunion, the cast hated the bunker, and it had a negative effect on their game.

To hell with grey bunkers with weird field turf training areas. Give us villas with hot tubs and communal showers and beautiful scenery and happy people. The competition is what is supposed to make the cast miserable, not the house.

Best Get-It, Quit-It

And the winner is… Asaf.

You remember Asaf, right? Right? If you don’t, he was the first person eliminated this season. Poor dude? Nah. He and Nany got a quick hook-up and thenĀ poof. Gone was Asaf.

Best New Power Move

And the winner is… Short gals standing on top of tables to get a height advantage during an argument.

Melissa and Ashley deserve all the credit here. The diminutive but fiesty ladies both hopped up onto the coffee table during nominations, and let their opinions be known. What makes this such a strong maneuver is that neither woman really needs to get that advantage. They’re both very vocal, very assertive people who can get their point across whenever they want. To add the height advantage via table is just for punctuation. They don’t need to go 100%, but they do just to prove a point. Point taken.

Best Scene (Non Action)

And the winner is… Fessy & Kyle’s night by the campfire.

Stranded outside after being losers in a leg of the final, Fessy and Kyle were regulated to standing by a fire in the snow on top of a mountain for six hours. It was painful for them, but it brought the best laughs of the season. With help from a wonderful edit, the loquacious Kyle worries that a taciturn Fessy has completely shut down, while Fessy is dying for some peace and quiet.

Best Edit

And the winner is… The men and women behind helping us forget Dee existed.

The last quarter of the season had us wondering if Dee actually existed at all. Did she? Did she?!?!

Worst Realization

And the winner is… The unfortunate fact that The Challenge is not immune to the realities of The ‘Rona; meaning it might be awhile before we get season 36.

Naturally, during the early parts of the pandemic, we had optimism that by the time we needed to worry about the next season, this whole mess would be over. How silly of us to brush off just how big a clusterfuck our government’s response to the crisis was in the first place. There is no end in site in the near future, meaning filming/production of season 36 will be delayed, meaning it’ll likely be at least a year before we get a new season.

Best Reason for Optimism About the Future

And the Winner is… Challenge vet Mark Long’s quest to put together an “Old School” season of the show.

Mark, originally from Road Rules: The First Adventure, is a prominent member of the old guard who featured on six seasons, with two wins. He not only wants the cast comprised of old school people, but he wants the whole competition to have an old school feel. Goofy games, fun times, and a light-hearted approach. It could have a similar feel to the recent “Champs vs.” spin-off seasons, and be filmed in a similar timeframe.

The best part? Long is actually having success. This is a real possibility, and it is glorious.

Best of Them All (GOAT Award)

And the winner is… Johnny Bananas.

This season, Bananas not only won his record 7th final, but he actually became somewhat of a fan-favorite around these parts. By getting this win, did Bananas cement himself as The Challenge’s best ever competitor? We think so.

While it is true Bananas has been on more seasons (20) than any other competitor (CT is second with 17), his 35% winning percentage is pretty damn impressive. Eight people has won at least three challenges: Bananas, CT, Darrell, Derrick K., Kenny, Evelyn, Jordan, and Landon. Jordan is on his way, for sure, with three wins in only six seasons, but he’s not there yet. Guys like Kenny and Landon benefitted from the format in early seasons, and haven’t appeared on enough season to truly be considered. Evelyn is the GOAT female, but also hasn’t appeared on enough seasons to merit the all-time crown. Derrick K. is certainly an all-time great, but just a notch below the best. Of that group, only CT and Darrell can be really included in this discussion.

Darrell can also be knocked for lack of appearances, with eight, but he won HALF of those seasons. Not only that, but he won four-in-a-row (seasons that he appeared on). Plus, when he came back for Invasion of the Champions after a seven-year layoff he looked GREAT (and he got screwed on Dirty 30). He also might be the best pure athlete in Challenge history.

CT needs no introduction. He has appeared on 17 seasons, and is a three time champ; albeit surprisingly those three victories have all come within the back half of his career. CT is without a doubt the best elimination competitor in show history. He is the most intimidating cast member ever. His legacy might be bigger than Bananas. But 3 for 17 is rough, especially considering some of the times CT gassed out or fell short (Rivals, Battle of the Exes) and blew a prime chance to win the final. He also has the dubious honor of getting kicked off the show on three separate occasions (not counting Battle of the Exes II when he left after Diem had to leave).

So that leaves the man they call Bananas.

He is egotistical, conniving, back-stabbing, and antagonizing. He holds grudges against people for pulling the same exact moves that he himself would pull. He has been around forever, stirred many a pot, and caused more than a few commotions.

He once appeared in four straight finals, winning three — and that was during a stretch where he won four of the seven seasons he was on. And he shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a lifer, a man who has made a career of a goofy reality/game show hybrid that turned into a legitimate competition that requires training and preparation.

Simply put, Bananas is the face of The Challenge. The franchise player. The G.O.A.T.

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